The NBA universe is intimately aware of the phenomenon that is Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. But nine years ago, ESPN’s Marc Spears had a preview of the physical and psychological abilities the Blazers point guard was ready to unleash during a pre-draft workout. Tell the story on the Hoop Collective podcast.
“I remember seeing it at Merritt College, which you’ve probably never heard of, in Oakland when I was exercising, which is the most incredible exercise I have ever seen.”
“He was in incredible shape, he was doing this drill where he would shoot a triple and then run back to the baseline on the other side, run back and shoot another triple. It’s like he keeps cruising from one end of the court to the other, but shooting 3s and nailing them at full speed all the time. “
“It was like a multi-minute workout where I’m fine, he’s about to drop dead, he’s tired and he’s hitting all these 3s. And he had, Portland was there, Golden State was there and there was another team, maybe the Clippers were there. “
“And he’s doing this full sprint from the baseline to the 3-point line, shooting at 3-points, nailing everything. And he’s from Weber State, since he’s not nervous. And then after nailing about eight 3-pointers he’s sweating profusely and then he just goes down the middle and does a tomahawk dunk. And I was like Oh my God. “
Spears continues to talk about Lillard’s psyche and his drive to keep improving, a mindset that keeps the injury-plagued Blazers afloat this season.
“I watched him play, I fell in love with his game, his anger and his hunger and it’s never satisfied, he’s like a guy from East Oakland who got nothing.”
“Just when you think, well, you are Rookie of the Year, you no longer have a chip, yes, I do, you are All NBA, yes, that’s not enough, you’re an All Star, that’s not enough. “
“I want to be a Portland and I want to win a championship here and until that happens I’m going to keep fighting and scratching myself and then you think that when CJ gets hurt, a long list of guys get hurt, the Blazers fall apart, but he tells you why. great, why is he a future Hall of Famer, why he should be maybe the best players for the MVP right now. “
“Because they’re like 18 and 11 and he’s working with all these young guys who haven’t proven themselves and have done better.”
You can listen to the podcast here. The Blazers’ talk begins at the 27-minute mark.